MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers have voted to strip county health departments’ autonomy when it comes to issuing directives.
Friday, both the state House and Senate approved a bill that gives only the state health commissioner and county mayors the authority to issue health orders.
Local health departments, including the Shelby County Health Department, will no longer have that authority.
Aside from Shelby County, there are five other counties that have their own health departments. Those counties include Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison and Sullivan.
Politicians have been at odd with local health leaders for months over issues such as mask mandates and COVID-19 guidance. Several judges in parts of the state blocked Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order that would’ve allowed parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates.
The bill is now headed to the governor’s desk.